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Reviving Kenya's passion fruit farming

In the 90s and early 2000s, Kenya exported passion fruits, but since 2003 there has been a decline in production because of pest management challenges. Despite Kenya’s potential to grow and export passion fruits, production of the highly profitable crop has been on the decline over the past decade and no imports were going into the European Union. The European market has strict guidelines on pesticides residues and passion fruit shipments were reported to exceed acceptable limits.

A partial reason for not reviving the industry is because passion fruit by the Ministry of Agriculture is listed as a minor horticultural crop. They therefore do not have government priority. Recently, the Council of Governors Agriculture Committee, represented by Anne Koech, made a commitment to propose and support the upgrading of the crop to a major horticultural crop, so that funds can be allocated to the development of passion fruit in counties earmarked as suitable to grow it.

According to an oxfarmorganic article, there is potential for Kenya to be a world leader due to year-round availability of tropical fruits -passion, mango and pineapple- as the only country in the world that can grow the crops continuously.

Passion fruit is the most profitable compared to other crops, according to the Passion Fruit Value Chain Study undertaken in 2015. There is a huge domestic market, while neighbouring Uganda is a big market for Kenyan passion fruits taking 50 percent of total production. South Sudan is also buying lots of passion fruits from Kenya.

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